McCain, Harry Team Up in Request for Boxer's Pardon

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 01:38 PM

By Melissa Clyne

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Image: McCain, Harry Team Up in Request for Boxer's Pardon
This undated photo shows boxer Jack Johnson, who became the first African American to win the world champion heavyweight boxing title. Lawmakers are going another round in their fight to get a posthumous presidential pardon for Johnson, who was imprisoned nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman. (AP Photo/File)
Long-time political adversaries John McCain and Harry Reid finally agree on something.

Early 20th century heavyweight champion boxer Jack Johnson deserves a pardon for a 1913 conviction on a racially motivated charge of illegally transporting a white girlfriend across state lines for immoral purposes nearly a century ago, according to Politico.

Republican Sen. McCain and Reid, a Democrat, each a heavyweight in their respective political parties, penned a letter to President Barack Obama asking for the rare act of granting a posthumous pardon for the first black heavyweight boxing champ.

Special: Free Book Reveals How 3 Ex-Presidents Got Rich

"Jack Johnson was a tremendous athlete, and his legacy continues to be marred by this miscarriage of justice," their letter reads. "A posthumous pardon is long overdue, and would be an important step in repairing the legacy of this great boxer and a rare opportunity for our government to right an historical wrong."

It's not the first time the White House has been lobbied for a pardon for Johnson — nicknamed the Galveston Giant after his Texas hometown — who defeated white boxer Jim Jeffries, known as The Boilermaker, after a 15-round bout in Reno, Nev., in 1910, according to information in The Library of Congress.

The match was dubbed the Battle of the Century and sparked celebratory and race riots across the country. His story is the subject of a YouTube video.

Since 1974, lawmakers have tried to pass resolutions seeking a posthumous pardon for Johnson, according to McClatchy News. It would pass one chamber and fail in the other. In 2009 and again in 2011, the resolution passed both the Senate and the House.

Some congressmen thought they might be able to convince Obama, "the nation's first African-American president, to do so on behalf of the world's first African-American heavyweight boxing champion. But Obama hasn't issued a pardon either, and his administration says it's unlikely he will."

The Justice Department maintains that it has a general policy "not to process posthumous pardon requests," Politico reports. The White House has not commented on the most recent resolution.

Authorities targeted Johnson's former mistress, a prostitute named Belle Schreiber, to testify that Johnson had paid her train fare from Pittsburgh to Chicago, for immoral purposes. He skipped bail following his conviction, but returned in 1920 to serve his 365-day sentence.

Posthumous pardons are rare but have been granted, according to McClatchy.

"In 1999, President Bill Clinton pardoned Lt. Henry O. Flipper, the Army's first African American to graduate from West Point, who'd been forced out of the military in 1882 after white officers accused him of embezzling commissary funds. In 2008, Bush pardoned Charles Winters, who'd been convicted of violating the Neutrality Act in 1948 by helping to transfer two B-17 aircraft to Israel."

Special: Free Book Reveals How 3 Ex-Presidents Got Rich

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Newt Gingrich: Houston Pastor Subpoenas Part of a 'Radical Agenda'

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 13:07 PM

Houston Mayor Annise Parker's decision to issue subpoenas for sermons from the city's Christian pastors was for much la . . .

Advocates Seek to End Tennessee's Appeal as 'Abortion Destination'

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 11:20 AM

Anti-abortion advocates are trying to change laws in Tennessee, which they deride as being the abortion destination of . . .

Texas Candidate in GOP Address: Time To Clean Up Washington

Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 09:37 AM

The United States needs new energy to stay strong, and the government needs to clean up the mess of debt and waste mov . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved